More than 90,000 people – nerds and cool kids alike – descend upon the Los Angeles Convention Center every year at L.A. Comic Con on the weekend (Friday through Sunday) before Halloween. While dressed up as characters from anime, comic books, superhero movies and myriad other sources, attendees roam around 720,000 square feet of artists, vendors and performers. On Saturday and Sunday they can also sit in on dozens of panels and listen to experts discussing comics, movies, pop culture and many other topics. With so much to offer, the activities taking place throughout the convention center are as expansive as the venue is.
At its core Comic Con is a place for misfits to fit in, providing abundant social acceptance to those least accepted by society. (It’s also a place for swaths of seminude photoshoots at its core, admittedly, yes. But that’s a different article altogether.) This was my third such convention in L.A., and it didn’t disappoint. Without feeling the stigma of being a nerd (at least not palpably), I cosplayed Wonder Woman, Poison Ivy and Hela. It was cute being addressed by my characters’ names for photo requests: “Wonder Woman, can I get a pic with you?” (It’s always nice to take a break from “ma’m” when you’re older than 20.) And it was fun posing with the seriously devoted cosplayers, such as Charlys Aires, a professional-grade Aquaman. My outfits’ footwear left my feet bitterly vengeful, and several of my toes are still numb even two days after being released from high-heel jail, but it was a lot of fun. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
Although I have a great time cosplaying, the real attraction for me at Comic Con is the artwork. Drawings, paintings, sculptures, woodwork, patches, pins, clothing, accessories – all of it. In anticipation of loading up on the exhibitors’ creations, I set aside money all year to go toward curating my art collection in October. This year I brought home twice as much art as last year on the same budget by avoiding “official” (i.e., expensive) collectibles and supporting only independent artists like the ones whose illustrations are presented below. (Note: The pics are deliberately low-quality out of respect for the artists, whom I encourage everyone to contact for originals at the websites provided.)
I met some amazing people there this year, too, from breakthrough artists like Chadwick Haverland and Joe Van Dyke to two of my childhood heroes: the actors who played Sean and Rudy in “The Monster Squad” (1987). I was gushing with affectionate nostalgia when I got them to autograph fan art by Ludwig Van Bacon for me. Breaking from tradition (a self-imposed one), I even smiled when my picture was taken with them – something unheard of to those who know me well.
Comic Con celebrates every intricate facet of the imaginary worlds that are such a large part of many people’s real worlds. Also, the event extends Halloween by three whole days! (When you’re as creepily enamored of that holiday as I am, there are few things in life that are as emotionally succulent as that is.) Next year’s Comic Con will have to try really hard to beat this year’s because I had a lot of unique experiences at this one. But I said that last year too. And the year before that as well. And it managed to one-up the previous year’s convention both times. So, maybe I’m not issuing a challenge; maybe I’m making a promise.